Tech News Weekly 305 Transcript

Please be advised this transcript is AI-generated and may not be word for word. Time codes refer to the approximate times in the ad-supported version of the show.

Jason Howell (00:00:00):
Coming up next on Tech News Weekly. It's me, Jason Howell. I'm flying solo today. Micah Sargent is out, but we've got some great interviews for you starting with Alex Reisner from The Atlantic. He has been covering the books three AI dataset very closely for the past couple of months and he talks all about what's inside that dataset with a new search tool. Also, Daniel Rubino from Windows Central joins to talk about and to break down Microsoft copilot their announcement from last week, how it's unified into their products and what it could possibly do in the future. Roger Chang joins not from cnet now with Cord Cutters news to recap the history of net neutrality and why it's back. And then finally, I do a comprehensive review of the Samsung Galaxy tab SS nine plus. You're going to want to hear that next on Tech News Weekly

TWiT (00:00:55):
Podcasts you love from people you trust. This is TWiT

Jason Howell (00:01:04):
This is Tech News weekly episode 305, recorded Thursday, September 28th, 2023, the promise of Microsoft copilot. This episode to Tech News Weekly is brought to you by ZipRecruiter. Good news. If you're hiring, you've got help. ZipRecruiter, ZipRecruiter works for you to find great candidates fast. Its smart technology identifies qualified candidates for you and you can invite your top choices to apply. Try it for free at and by Duo Protect Against Breaches with a leading access management suite providing strong multilayered defenses to only allow legitimate users in. For any organization concerned about being breached and in need of a solution, fast Duo quickly enables strong security and improves user productivity. Visit today for a free trial and by our friends IT pro tv. Now ACI learning IT skills are outdated in about 18 months. Launch or advance your career today with quality, affordable, entertaining training individuals. Use Code TWIT 30 for 30% off a standard or premium individual IT pro slash twit.

Hello everybody and welcome to Tech News Weekly. I'm your host Jason Howell talking about the people who are making and breaking the technology news each and every week. Normally I have my co-host Micah Sergeant sitting next to me. He's not here right now. He will be back next week though, so I hope he's having a wonderful day today and often when Micah is not here, we end up doing more interviews inside of the show. Usually it's like two interviews and some discussion. This week we've got three awesome interviews lined up and then I'm going to give a review of the Samsung Galaxy tab SS nine plus that I've been using for almost a month now, so that's coming up a little bit later. Why don't we just dive right in because we've got some great stuff to talk about this week. A big moment in the world of AI right now are all these lawsuits.

There's a bunch of lawsuits happening with big name authors pushing back on the data sets that were trained using their books and their work. Sometimes those books are fed in there from pirated sources, so that's got a lot of attention. Alex Reisner from The Atlantic has been following this closely for the last couple of months, since August. In fact, published just recently an article about a search tool for seeing which author's work is contained within the books three dataset, which we have talked about a couple of times on this show before, and Alex is here to talk all about it. Welcome to the show, Alex.

 Alex Reisner (00:03:50):
Thanks, Jason. Happy to be here. Thanks for having me.

Jason Howell (00:03:52):
Absolutely. It's great to have you here and I know you've been doing a lot of work to understand, discover, and understand what this dataset actually is and I think it's informing a lot of authors and a lot of people who are really interested in the developments around AI and law and copyright and ownership and all these things. I mean, this is a very big kind of stage for this battle is this particular data set, right? Because a lot of the really big name AI companies have been using it to a certain degree and it really kind of shines a light on what we do and probably more importantly, what we don't know about what those companies are basing their business around, right?

 Alex Reisner (00:04:39):
Yeah, it's very secretive. What I've been investigating is, like you said, this one particular set of books that's being used is about 200,000 books and they're being used by Meta Bloomberg and some other companies, but also a lot of just independent AI developers that are out there and they're not old books, they're not like copyright expired books. They were about 80% of 'em were written in the past 20 years and the authors of these books are not happy and there's currently six class action lawsuits against the AI companies, including the latest one was filed by the Author's Guild and it's got a lot of authors that anyone would recognize on it. Jonathan Franzen, George Saunders, George r r Martin, writer, creator of Game of Thrones, David Balducci, Scott ot. There's a lot of authors that are really unhappy about this and they're suing mostly for copyright infringement. The stakes for the AI companies are really high too. There's no way for the AI companies, if they were to lose these suits, to just pull certain books out of the large language models that they've trained, they would need to basically start over and

Jason Howell (00:06:04):

 Alex Reisner (00:06:05):
The stakes are high for them.

Jason Howell (00:06:06):
Absolutely, and I think this is kind of ongoing. There is another story that we're not talking about in this show. I will be talking about it later in another show I do called AI Inside, which is the giddy image search or rather image generative AI system. And I think the reason that I'm kind of connecting these two is because here you've got a dataset that's based largely on copyrighted material. Now whether that actually constitutes an overstep and overreach because is it transformative on the other end? Do fair use rules actually apply here? This is all the stuff that these lawsuits are going to determine, but in the case of the giddy images having its own generative ai, they're training dataset is based entirely on images that they own, and so there's a little bit more of an understanding of who owns the secret sauces being fed into the system.

Here it's a lot more uncertain and it kind of feels like some of that uncertainty about what it means to train a data set or train a model and AI around a data set like this. There's a lot of ambiguity about what that means and I wonder the authors who have their books represented here and are upset about it. I guess the question I have, and I don't know that this is a question that you could necessarily answer, but it's one that keeps coming up for me is do they have a good understanding of what it actually means to have this data inside of a training data set? Are they worried about something that doesn't exist or are there fears warranted? What would be your thoughts on that?

 Alex Reisner (00:07:49):
Yeah, I think no one knows. AI is a totally new technology. We talk about it largely in metaphors because it's so complex. I don't think anyone really understands what the implications of this are. When you read through the different lawsuits, there's a slew of different complaints. They're all slightly different. There's charges of direct copyright infringement or sorry, allegations of direct copyright infringement, vicarious copyright infringement, what's called removal of copyright management information, which is like stripping authors, titles, publisher names, just different identifying information from the books. There's unfair competition. I believe there's a lot of technical legal stuff here, but to get out of that, what I would say is what the author's I think anger and complaints boil down to is number one, some of the richest companies in the world profiting from their work. So there's this sense that the AI systems couldn't really do anything without their work that is the source of their so-called intelligence.

And I think the second point is just that the systems may put a lot of writers out of work. It's a really serious threat to the industry. It doesn't need to write better than a human in order to really negatively affect the job market. And it's interesting. I think fair use is very, very complex. Yeah, I'm not a lawyer. I'm not going to comment on which side I think will win. I've talked to a lot of lawyers. Some of them think that the authors of a slam dunk case, others think that the tech companies of a slam dunk case, it's really hard to know. It seems to me it could go either way.

Jason Howell (00:09:47):
And it's fascinating to kind of watch it go back and forth and kind of learn in real time along with everyone, which is just a testament to how rapidly this thing has developed. Not even a year ago, the majority of people even had never heard the three words large language model strung together in a sentence. And now we're at a point where so from so many directions, businesses are being impacted. How people are working and doing their jobs is being either improved or negatively impacted by the existence of these systems. Everybody's trying to understand it and it's impossible to avoid it. So that's kind of the weird place that we are right now. You mentioned in one of your articles, your recent articles, I mean you talked a little bit or a lot about what's there, but you also made a point to mention what's not there and I'm just kind of curious to hear in your words from your perspective, what are the gaps that were unfilled in a dataset like this and why is that important?

 Alex Reisner (00:10:59):
Yeah, so it's tricky to say because who's to say what's not included? If we're talking about what comprises a comprehensive list of all the knowledge of humanity, well, in whose eyes? And I think that it's all

Jason Howell (00:11:15):
Subjective for sure.

 Alex Reisner (00:11:17):
Yeah, it's all subjective. Everyone comes from their own cultures and is biased towards the knowledge of that culture. I would say in really simple terms, there's hardly anything from an Islamic perspective in a dataset where there's a lot of books written from a Christian perspective, there's things like, there's a lot of books on other countries, but a lot of them, maybe even a majority are travel books. And so they're not really about the cultures in these countries. They're about how to be a tourist in these countries where to go to eat, how to buy things. And so it's a very western centric view of the world, and that matters because as people start using these systems more, a lot of people are using large language models to replace, they're using it instead of Google search or binging or whatever search engine they used to use. And they're getting information that it's not clear that it's biased towards a Western perspective, but it is because that's all the training data for the model is so heavily biased towards a Western perspective.

Jason Howell (00:12:32):
Yeah, that's super fascinating and very interesting. I mean, when you're thinking about geographical locations around the world and thinking it through a travel lens, that is a very specific type of lens. It might get into a little bit of culture, but it's not going to get into it the same way that something written, not with travel in mind, but to be a comprehensive kind of recounting of a particular aspect of that culture might actually be. And so you end up with these gaps and we've talked over the last number of years about bias in the systems that are created, and it's not always intentional. It's not like someone goes, I'm going to create this dataset. I'm going to make sure and keep the Islamic perspective out of here. It's just that it's filtered through a very specific lens that knowingly or not ends up excluding certain things and doesn't give a clear picture. And then we end up in the potential realm of misinformation being fed out as if it were fact, which we've seen a lot of large language models be very adept at doing so. It's fascinating stuff. And you actually mentioned, you referred to this in your piece as like a gatekeeper, these models or the chatbot being the gatekeeper. Talk a little bit about that.

 Alex Reisner (00:13:54):
Yeah, I think it's interesting, these models, this is cutting edge technology, but in a way, the services that are being built with the technology, it's a little bit from a certain sense a reversion to a pre-internet model of interacting with the world's knowledge. So before the internet, if you wanted to know about brewing your own beer, you'd have to go to the library and find a book or you'd need to find an expert who knew about it, and you'd have a very small number of sources. You'd have to trust the author of the book or the expert, and that was the great thing about the internet. The early days of the internet, you had Yahoo, which would give you links to hundreds of other people who were brewing beer, and they would all have their own perspective. They were all just kind of a click away in the time that it would've taken you to drive to the library, you could get a hundred different people's perspective on a question that you had. And with the chat bot, it feels a little bit like we're reverting to the single source model. You're expected to just kind of trust that the chat bot is presented as an expert or as a kind of oracle, and there's been efforts to have them cite their sources, but it's still pretty limited.

They're not citing their sources all the time, and as you say, they're prone to what are being called hallucinations that they may be telling you something that's true. They may be telling you something that's false and it's really difficult. It can be really difficult to tell. So that's kind of why I feel like it is a little bit of a return from a more open internet to more of a primitive gatekeeping model.

Jason Howell (00:15:54):
Yeah, yeah. Interesting stuff. Now, I know we've reached in the end of the time for the interview, but I did want to mention this tool, this searchable capability that people have to see what's in there and everything. Actually, I did a show yesterday with Jeff Jarvis who's written a couple of books. What would Google Do being one of them on yesterday's this week in Google, and he searched the database and sure enough, a couple of his books were in the database, and he definitely comes from the perspective of it doesn't bother me at all. I'm happy to have my work in there. I'm sure there are some authors that feel that way. It sounds like though these cases are being levied, obviously by authors who absolutely do not feel that way. If people want to search the database for themselves, how can they do that?

 Alex Reisner (00:16:43):
Yeah, just go to The Atlantic. There's an article there. There's a search tool. If you just search the Atlantic's website for books three, you can find that and search for, search for all your favorite authors or your own books if you are an author.

Jason Howell (00:16:58):
Yes, exactly. Exactly. I mean, if you're searching for your favorite authors, I mean, there's really not a whole lot you can do with that directly. It's not like here's a source for you to get a bunch of pirated books or anything like that. It's definitely not along those lines, but I guess I suppose it's interesting to know kind of what informs this data set to get a better sense of how these systems come to the conclusions that they do when we're using them and yeah, fascinating. Yeah, exactly.

Yeah. Alex, I appreciate you taking time to join me first of all, but I want to thank you for hopping on and taking out 15 minutes of your life to talk about this and the work that you're doing following this story. Obviously, Alex writes for The Atlantic. You can find a number of articles that he's written on this topic, including the one we're showing right now. Search the Books database, powering Meta's generative ai. You can take a look at that yourself, and I'm sure we'll be seeing more coming from Alex in the near future. Thank you so much for your time, Alex, we appreciate you.

 Alex Reisner (00:17:59):
Yeah, thank you Jason.

Jason Howell (00:18:00):
Alright, we will talk to you soon. Okay, coming up another interview, two of three. In fact, we're going to be speaking with Daniel Rubino from Windows Central about Microsoft Co-pilot and what is it in its current incarnation and in light of the past week's worth of news around the topic. So we'll get to that in a moment. But first, this episode, tech News Weekly is brought to you by Zip Recruiter. We would like to give out a shout out to all those whose job it is to hire employees because you don't have an easy job when you're hiring employees from small business owners, going to job fairs, to the HR directors vetting hundreds of applications. You have one of the toughest jobs out there, so we salute you. But what if I told you that there's something that can make your whole hiring process faster and easier?

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That's ZipRecruiter com slash tnw. ZipRecruiter the smartest way to hire still, I mean and continually the smartest way to hire, and we thank them for their support of Tech News Weekly. Alright, last week Microsoft had its big surface and AI event. They all have AI in there in some way, shape, or form. These days it began with a bang, the announcement of a unified copilot offering. I know I would love to know more about this. So we have Daniel Rubino from Windows Central here to talk all about that smart AI feature. Said welcome back to the show, Daniel.

Daniel Rubino (00:21:26):
Thanks for having me. Yeah,

Jason Howell (00:21:27):
It's great to get you here. Thank you for taking some time to talk about Copilot, which I realized I'm not entrenched in the Microsoft world, but I do know that Copilot kind of existed before the news last week, so the news wasn't that it exists, but rather that it's kind of changing to kind of integrate on a wider scale. Talk a little bit about how copilot existed prior to this integration. Where were people running into and interacting with copilot prior to last week?

Daniel Rubino (00:21:58):
Actually nowhere. Copilot. Yeah, copilot was a demonstration of a product that was supposed to come later this fall when

Jason Howell (00:22:07):
It was, that's my misunderstanding.

Daniel Rubino (00:22:08):
First sold off in May. Got it. Yeah, I think you're confusing with it's Binging Chat. So Bing Chat's been out since February. That was the big thing that was announced, and copilot is built off of that using a lot of the same technology. So they're similar, but they're a little bit different as well. So what happened was in May they announced that copilot was coming and what they showed was it existing in all different apps and everything and they would just call it copilot for Outlook and copilot for Excel and all that. All they kind of did at this event was unify them conceptually was a unified logo, but they still technically exist independently within different apps or Windows 11 itself. The difference of course is they're all tied to your Microsoft account, so stuff that's shared between them, but that's what was the big story. They went into more detail about stuff that's coming as well as for being chat for Enterprise.

Jason Howell (00:23:06):
So with this kind of unified approach, which to me makes a lot of sense. I know Google has been doing this as well with a lot of its AI into its products. I've felt for the past year of my growing feeling around AI is it makes a heck of a lot more sense to bring AI into the things you're already using as opposed to having a destination that you go to interact and that seems to be what Microsoft is doing with copilot. What is its capabilities and where are people discovering it?

Daniel Rubino (00:23:40):
So what happened was this week Microsoft pushed out a new update. They're just calling the September 26th update. There's really no official name for it, but if you go and seek this update, meaning you go and check for updates on your Windows 11 computer and it's qualified, you will get this update. Otherwise it'll be pushed out to everyone in the coming weeks. This is the first release publicly or I should say that mainstream versus the insider channels where copilot is available. It's only available in some countries. They'll be rolling out, it's in preview form, so it's a early look at it. What can it do now? Not a ton mean. So it does binging chat, right? So Bing chats in there so you can do all the same stuff you were doing in binging chat before you can drag and drop things into it. So there's some cool stuff you can already do.

There's a lot more coming, but right now you can take a screenshot on your computer of whatever, say it has text in it, you can drop it into the chats and ask it a question, summarize what's on this image, tell me what this is, translate it and all that, and it'll use O C R to basically read that image and do whatever you're asking to do. Eventually you'll also be able to take a photo and drop it into it and say remove the background and it'll remove the background for you. So there's a bunch of this sort of things it can do there. It's also sort of contextual, so there's an option to turn it on and it works with the edge so it can see what's on edge at the moment. So you can be like, Hey, summarize this page or do this and do that, and you can also do basic commands with Windows itself.

You can tell to go to dark mode or organize your windows, but more and more features are coming. I think this is sort of like years ago Microsoft had Cortana and then we had Siri and we had all these assistants. This is what we thought that was going to be. So this is truly an assistance that uses machine learning. A lot of it's going to be local and it's going to be able to actually go and do requests for you as well as other things. For instance, Microsoft has a thing called a phone link where it connects your Android phone and even the iPhone to Windows itself and you can see text messages and alerts and notifications all on your computer without taking your phone out. Well, with copilot you'll be able to ask copilot to search something in your text messages and it'll be able to do that from your PC and search it on your phone. It's going to have a record of your text messages that came in. So it's really kind of a very powerful tool that's only going to get more powerful in the coming weeks, months and years.

Jason Howell (00:26:18):
You can imagine as an operating system is built up around this kind of advanced functionality, what that could lead to. Do you have any wishlist items like you know what it's capable of doing some pretty interesting stuff though the sky's the limit for the future. I really want this particular thing for it to be able to do that. Do you have any wishlist items?

Daniel Rubino (00:26:45):
Yeah, I think the holy grail here is proactive actions. In other words, you get up in the morning, turn your computer on and copilot tells you, Hey, you have these important emails that came in. You have a calendar appointment here. Do you want me to text this person? Really a true assistant, that's amazing. Yeah, and that's going to be possible. It'll take us some time to get there, but it's totally possible. The big thing that's coming out with Intel is an N P U. So all processors coming out in the next couple of years, we'll have a dedicated processor for AI and this is going to start using that. So that's kind of future there. I also just like the stuff in Outlook and Office. So for instance, if you're in office, one of the things in PowerPoint was you had to be a PowerPoint expert before to make a good PowerPoint presentation.

It was a skill in of itself, let alone the knowledge you had to put into whatever that presentation was. Now you can go in and tell it, be like, Hey, give me a banner with the fall leaves and use this photo in there as well, and it'll generate a banner for you and put it in there or give me a background image and then you can use that image. You can remove things from the background, add things to it all using AI since this is now going to be powered by Dolly three, which is a much more powerful implementation of being image creator.

Jason Howell (00:28:00):
Interesting. Okay. So how are users presented with the opportunity to do this? Is this something that they find kind of in the task bar, like search or microphone area in order to trigger it? Or is it more integrated into each different component of the operating system and apps in different places where it makes sense? How is that presented?

Daniel Rubino (00:28:23):
Yes, so the short answer is with the Windows 11 update this week, if you got it, which has 150 new features in there, and I believe if you're in the US or certain countries, you'll have copilot preview. It'll be next to the search bar. It's their new universal icon that they're using. It's a very colorful ribbon and it says pre on it, when you click it, a pane is going to slide out from the right side and give you access to it. So that's how it's going to exist in Windows 11. There'll be a shortcut key you can do just to bring it up as well. It'll probably be voice activated pretty soon too. It will also be in those other apps I said like Microsoft Office, word, PowerPoint. That's still coming, but that's going to be sort of the next iteration. It's also they're going update Edge to instead of having the big chat icon, it's going to be this icon, so it's going to be in all their apps in some form. It's even in SwiftKey right now on Android and I think on iOS. So you can actually use the keyboard and start using this technology within the keyboard to grammar check and do all this sort of stuff right on your phone in real time.

Jason Howell (00:29:28):
How much of this, I'm assuming this is all happening on device and not necessarily going to the cloud. Is there any sort of concerns around the standard kind of concerns that we see around AI and data privacy, especially when you're talking about enterprise users and stuff like that? Is that even a consideration here?

Daniel Rubino (00:29:50):
So for Enterprise, of course it is, right? Enterprise, yeah. The white glove treatment, so there is binging chat for enterprise. It's a siloed version of this, and what that means is whatever data you're putting into it or giving it access to never goes to Microsoft and is never used to train models for ai. Basically, it stays on the device and doesn't go anywhere, and when you use it actually has a secured notification at the top telling you that for consumers it's a bit different. Now, none of the information you're giving, it's tied to your account, but it's anonymous. There's no name with it, so it goes back into the system. It is used for training. There's been over a billion chats used by Bing Chats so far. So whatever you put in there is going to be used for training, but it won't be traceable back to you.

Now is this a privacy and security concern? Yeah, possibly. Right? I think all this stuff is, and there was recently a headline talking about how all this new AI is basically a surveillance tool and it kind of is in a way, so we have to be careful with this. I'll say Microsoft has published what they call their ethics on ai, and you can go to their website and they publish all their documents on what they're doing with privacy, their goals and their philosophy on this approach. It's all transparent and therefore anyone to read. So they're being very forward with this stuff, making sure consumers know what they're getting into. Of course, you can always opt out of this stuff. No one's forcing you to use it. You can just turn this thing off if you don't want to use it too. Sure,

Jason Howell (00:31:23):
Sure. Okay. Now this was just one of many announcements and before we let you go, I thought I'd give you the opportunity to, maybe this was the most exciting part of the announcements last week, or maybe it's something else. What was the announcement from last week that had you most excited, most energized?

Daniel Rubino (00:31:43):
So I mean, windows 11 in general has just gotten a lot more refined and it's just turning out to be a really nice modern operating system. They're clearly devoting a lot of time to doing that, so I'm pretty happy overall with this update. I think it's one of the more substantial ones we've seen since the release of Windows 11, but besides that, they also announced a Surface laptop. Studio two, I've gone on record saying the laptop studio, the first one is one of my favorite laptops ever. It's one of the best surface devices they've ever created. It's very expensive. It's kind of a niche use, but it gets great, bad, real life. The performance is good and the form factor is totally unique. So I'm getting my hands on the second one very soon and very excited to try that out. I think it's just one of the best examples of what a Windows PC can be.

Jason Howell (00:32:25):
Yeah. Okay. Well, that'ss a big tease forward then with the successor coming out, and you'll have the, I imagine here in of course a short bit. So Daniel, thank you so much for hopping on and telling me a little bit about this, and yeah, everybody should follow your Thank you. Great, thanks. Alright, take care. We'll talk to you soon. Alright, we do need to take a break and then when we are done with the break, we're going to talk a little bit about net neutrality being a thing. Again, what does that even mean? Is it a big deal? I know it was a big deal when it kind of went poof. Suddenly the net neutrality rules were threatened. So we're going to talk a little bit about that with Roger Chang from cord cord cutters But first, this episode of Tech News Weekly is brought to you by duo.

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That's and we thank DUO for their support of Tech News Weekly. Alright, so net neutrality, let's just say it's had its ups and downs in the past number of years. It was kicked off, I mean initially it was kind of launched by the Obama administration, so it was kicked off by the Obama administration and then kicked out during the Trump presidency. Then F C C chairman, Ajit Pai ultimately dismantling the rules in 2018 and things felt pretty iffy for net neutrality at that point. Things are changing though, so I thought it would be a good reason to check in on this. Roger Chang actually wrote about this for Cord Cutters news, so Roger is here with me to talk all about it. Welcome back, Roger. It's good to see you. Thanks Jason. Excited to be back on the show. Yeah, it's good to see you and with your new digs.

I think the last time we had you were at cnet, so now you're with Cord Cutters news, and so congratulations on the transition and I think this is a great opportunity to talk about something. It's funny, yesterday on this week in Google, I brought up this story and it kind of felt like crickets and I found it kind of interesting because man, there for a while, net neutrality was the thing that everybody was talking about. I don't think that it's any less important now than it was before, but I wonder if we have whiplash at this point. It's like, oh, here we go again. What's your take on this current stage of net neutrality?

Roger Cheng (00:36:08):
I mean, there's absolutely an aspect where there's a fatigue with the issue. I mean, this is an issue that people were so passionate about and I think a lot of people still are passionate about, but because of the back and forth, it was approved and then it was dismantled and now it might be approved again, the back and forth. I think folks are seeing that this has become such a partisan issue that it just, it's exhausting to follow because there are so many partisan issues out there and just keeping up with everything can be a lot for people.

Jason Howell (00:36:38):
So before we dive into where we are, maybe a little bit of history, talk about briefly, if you don't mind, the initial foundation of net neutrality and then what led to it ultimately being dismantled?

Roger Cheng (00:36:52):
Yeah, ultimately net neutrality started as just a policy, a general policy that the F C C wanted to implement across ISPs. The basic underpinning is that ISPs like Comcast or Verizon or at t have to treat traffic on their networks fairly and they can't prioritize one over the other. There can't be so-called fast lanes that folks can pay for priority access to the end user. And so that has resulted that sort of simple idea, codifying it into some sort of rule that can be enforced has been just this massive messy drama that has really taken place over the last decade or so and has shifted with different administrations, different political leanings, and so now it's coming back theoretically, but again, we don't know if, for instance, if this somehow becomes successful if history doesn't repeat itself and if for instance, president Trump wins or Trump wins a reelection, then it gets all tossed out again. So I think that's kind of, again, going back to why people are exhausted about it. That's partly why I think there's a lot of confusion and a lot of concern about this because even if they're going to bring it back to say another administration won't dismantle it all over again,

Jason Howell (00:38:14):
It just becomes a hot potato back and forth or a tennis match or something during what I will call the net neutrality winter there. Were there aspects of the broadband industry that were able to kind of capitalize? Was there a perception that lack of net neutrality rules the way they had been instilled prior to the removal, did that impact things? Did we see negative impacts as a result of it not being what it once was?

Roger Cheng (00:38:51):
That's a great question and I was looking back at it and I didn't see a huge amount of examples, but I think that's partly because after in the wake of those federal rules getting dismantled, a bunch of states took up the cause. California, Washington, a number of states implemented their own net neutrality rules and in some cases, like in California, the rules actually went beyond what the F C C had asked. Things like banning zero rating as a practice, and so I think because of that sort of fragmented environment that we're in, where there are ary laws, but they're all kind of different and there's different state by state, there haven't been a lot of examples of egregious actions taken by ISPs capitalizing or taking advantage of the lack of regulations because there were regulations there. They were just all over the place and it wasn't a particularly consistent set of rules that anyone had to play by.

Jason Howell (00:39:46):
Yeah, yeah, no, that makes a lot of sense. That's right. The rebound after that was like, all right, well then we're going to take it to the states, and we did see a lot of changes there, but in order for what's happening now to happen, there needed to be some changes at the F C C and that was a bit of a dramatic moment or has been for a little while. Talk a little bit about what transpired to ultimately kind lead to where we are right now where it is kind of being proclaimed as like it's net neutrality season again.

Roger Cheng (00:40:16):
Yes, yes. I mean the F C C, the majority of Biden's administration has been a fairly toothless organization for all of it really because they were deadlocked with two commissioners, two Republican commissioners, two democratic commissioners. There typically is three of whatever power or whatever political power political party in power, and they had a lot of problems. The Biden administration had a lot of problems getting their first pick. Gigi Stone confirmed as commissioner. There was a bit of a campaign against her for some of the things she said previously. She was, I would argue unfairly characterized as a radical, but there was a lot of opposition to her being sworn. As a result, they could not get a fifth commissioner and they were deadlocked two to two, which meant they couldn't really do anything. So now that Anna Gomez has been sworn in as the third commissioner, literally a day after she was sworn in S E C chair Jessica Rosemore announced this push to bring Charlie, which was something that President Joe Biden and a number of democratic lawmakers have expressed support of since the beginning.

Jason Howell (00:41:30):
Okay, so then that has been, what is the next step then? Did they outline any sort of official plan to say, and this is how we're going to enforce this, or this is what we want to work on

Roger Cheng (00:41:47):
Right now? As with every government action, it's just a lot of processes. I think the initial step is to open this up for public feedback. I believe there's a vote to even, there's a vote next month to make sure that there actually can, which is because of the three two majority is sort of de facto, but they're going to be opening it up for public feedback. Rosen Morsel said that she was looking to listen this time. She wanted to have an open dialogue, but this is a process that could take a while and even as it happened with Aja Pi and then with Tom Wheeler before him, it's a year long process, a year long process to kind of get this stuff through it. It is a messy, and it's a complicated thing to kind of get a rule of this magnitude passed and even once it passes, it's going deal with legal challenges. So this is going to take a while for, it's not that it's not going to happen where she just snaps her finger and neutrality. It's going to be a while.

Jason Howell (00:42:50):
Yeah, yeah. Now you quoted Jonathan Salters, the c e o of US Telecom who represents the broadband companies, so that's like at and t, Verizon. He called these rules designed for a long forgotten era that runs directly counter to and will likely derail the critical achievement. We are so close to reaching universal connectivity. I'm curious to know what he means by that from his perspective and from the perspective of broadband companies. What is the threat from their perspective as far as this net neutrality push coming back?

Roger Cheng (00:43:27):
Yeah, this idea that net neutrality, that these rules are antiquated, that is a longtime argument made by the ISPs. Generally speaking, what this entails is reclassifying these ISPs under a Title II designation, which is a common carrier designation similar to gas and power. The idea that they've got to treat all traffic neutral is similar to how gas and power works, and because of that, they argue that this is an ated law. It's overly burdensome to the ISPs to follow, but the f c sort of address this Rosen Waral was clear that this wasn't about mandating or changing rates. This wasn't about really mending their business. This is really about bringing back enforcement power to the F C C because when APIs F C C dismantled these rules, they also sort of abdicated any kind of enforcement authority to the F T C and the F T C doesn't really have a lot of say unless there's an antitrust concern.

So what this really does beyond just sort of again, codifying this idea of an open internet, it really kind of brings back some of the enforcement powers to the F C C for things like dealing with outages or that she called out the situation from few years back when Verizon throttled and firefighters in Santa Clara, right? Even if Verizon says that was a mistake, even if it was a mistake, the F C C didn't have the authority to step in right away and say, Hey, this isn't right, and kind of levy fees or fines with this change that would allow for that. And I think that's what the ISPs are generally concerned about.

Jason Howell (00:45:07):
Yeah. Okay. That makes sense. Well, I would encourage everybody to go to cord cutters and read your writeup is a very kind of detailed and insightful look into net neutrality, then the now kind of where it's headed and also just a great opportunity to get you back on the show from your new dig. So Roger Chang, thank you so much for hopping on with me today. I appreciate it. It's been nice talking with you.

Roger Cheng (00:45:34):
Absolutely, absolutely. Thanks Jason. Really appreciate it. Enjoyed the chat.

Jason Howell (00:45:37):
Absolutely. And we will talk to you again in the future and bring you back. So thank you again Roger. Alright, we're going to take a quick break and thank the sponsor of this episode of Tech News Weekly and then I am going to go ahead and give you my review of the Samsung Galaxy tab S nine plus. It's a little bit of a mouthful to say that, but that's what Samsung does these days. That's coming up in a moment. But first, this episode of Tech News Weekly is brought to you by our friends IT Pro tv now a c I learning, our listeners know the name IT Pro tv as one of our trusted sponsors for the last decade. They've been with us for so long, it's been awesome as part of a c I learning IT Pro TV now IT Pro has elevated their highly entertaining bingeable short format content with over 7,200 hours to choose from and new episodes added daily, always something new to watch a C i Learnings Personal account managers will be with you every step of the way, fortifying your expertise with access to self-paced IT training videos, interactive practice labs, so you're getting messy along the way as well, which helps you learn and certification practice tests.

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And so I've been using it and I know that it's been about a month because I can tell you when I go into the camera and let's see here, I don't need location, I don't like to have location and if I go to some of the earlier photos, it's my puppy, which I can't help but show pictures of and I'm telling you he's twice that size now in a month. I looked at these pictures as I was getting ready for this review and I was like, oh my God, he is so much bigger than that now it's just kind of blowing my mind. But anyways, we'll talk about the cameras in a second. This is the design of the tablet and I have to say this is not the only S nine or Galaxy Series kind of premium Samsung tablet that I've used before. I've reviewed a lot of their premium offerings on their tablets and my opinion is if you're looking for an Android specific tablet and you want some of the best out there, this is where you go.

Samsung's Galaxy tab, their premium lineup this year being the SS nine, this is the SS nine plus, and then you can get the S nine Ultra, which has even better specs and even more features. I'm not reviewing that today though. I'm just reviewing the Plus. Still a very worthy competitor against even the ultra. This thing has been a beauty for me to use and you can see the design's very, it's got a very thin but durable design aluminum sides all around the back of the device. You see the camera layout is a little different from last year's. It really matches the individual little camera lenses popping out matches the look of the current iteration of phones. So the design between the phones and the tablets really match. You can see this little area on the back here that is for your spen. I'm happy to say the Spen actually ships in the box and you can snap that back there.

Now it's not embedded into the device. If they did that, this device would be a lot thicker. It just would be. But the magnet's pretty solid and when it's attached there it is charging. You can hardly see it probably on the overhead. But here let me do the fingerprint sensor of which there is one as you saw there, but up at the very top, you don't need to zoom in or anything, but I promise you one of those icons is a little pen and essentially that is charging. That's what's happening. It is sending charge from the tablet to the spen to keep a charged and it does not take very long to do that. But the design itself, it's pretty solid. You've got your U S B C port down the bottom, dual speakers on both sides. And I actually have to say the speakers are very loud.

They're actually 20% larger from last year's speakers in the tablet then, so that's nice. They're still going to be kind of thin and a little empty. You're not getting any booming qualities out of it. They're tiny little speakers, but they do sound better. This has for the first time IP 68 water resistance. So you could soak this in water for up to 30 minutes according to the IP 68 rating. I did not do that. I'm not going to do that for two at t's review unit. I will take their word for it. But nonetheless, if you find yourself in a wet environment, this tablet is going to be protected a lot more just inherently because of the IP 68 rating, the buttons on the top, they feel solid, they pop out just enough for it to feel kind of intact and not loosey and kind of squishy or anything like that.

They're very solid feeling. This is where the sim card tray exists. So design wise, I mean it is pretty simple slate, not even a rounded display. It's very flat and that allows it to be very thin. So it really does just fit into the bag really nicely. Has a little bit of a sharp edge edge to it. I they've, what do they call that? I guess they've rounded it a little bit. I don't know that it's necessarily trumped, which is a word I enjoy saying, but it does if you're holding it into your wrists as you're watching something, the kind of edges of the tablet do have a tendency to dig in a little bit. It wasn't horrible, but it's just something to keep in mind. Some people really prefer the more rounded edges of other devices. The display itself is a 12.4 inch dynamic AMY lead.

It can ramp between 60 hertz to 120 hertz refresh depending on the content, depending on what you're looking at. And so that's very nice. Did you know that the piranha often feared as a blood thirsty killer? Okay, so you can see things kind of scroll smoothly when you're on YouTube. In other apps, as I've been scrolling through, I don't get that kind of herky jerky knit quality that I do see on some pieces of hardware and the display, the colors are nice. It's a narrow display. As you see here, it's 16 by 10, so it's not book like what you might get out of the iPad, right? It's definitely a little bit more geared for media consumption. So YouTube works really well from that regard when I'm not watching an ad. So let's see here. Let's go ahead and skip that and we can go ahead and jump to the full screen and I could probably even improve the quality.

I don't think that it's automatically doing that, but I'm like, oh, there we go. Hold on, let me see if I get that here. Quality, yeah, it's auto to 360. Let's just go higher quality. And did it even snap over? I don't even know this. Oh, there we go. It snapped into place now. Okay, anyways. Sometimes display quality is hard to show on a live stream. We're already filtering through cameras and everything to get to your display, but I can say the brightness of this display when I'm outside was wonderful. I had this outside playing fallout shelter quite a bit and it was ample brightness for the outside light, the daylight light. Performance wise, you've got the Snapdragon eight gen two processor in here and fast enough for everything that I was throwing at it. I really could not be slowed down by this, which is to be expected for Samsung's premium hardware.

It has a 10,090 million amp hour battery with 45 watt wired charging. I found this to have excellent battery life. It actually survived pretty much all of my trip to Boise and I was there almost a week ago, or almost for a week a few weeks ago, but for a week. And I was using this thing like crazy. I don't know why it's taken so long to load this particular level, but I think that's probably more on fallout shelter than that is the tablet itself. But I found the battery life to be wonderful through that use. It also charges really fast. This thing has a vapor chamber inside, so that's for two-way heat dissipation. So when you're playing an intensive game or doing a lot of multitasking and stuff, I never felt the tablet actually heat up and get warm, which I do detect with some tablets.

And then just so you know, like I said, this does have five G connectivity, which came in really handy. This is the only version, the only variant to have that. So if you're getting the SS nine, the tab SS nine or the tab SS nine ultra, you're not going to have the ability to do the five G with the SIM card, but you can with the plus. So that's definitely a bonus for this particular hardware. Samsung's one ui, it's one UI 5.1. It's kind of a known quantity at this point, at least if you've used Samsung in the last couple of years that Samsung has, I feel like they have really kind of stepped up their game in. Yes, still offering a lot of the bonus features and stuff that they're known for, but also just after a short break in period getting out of the way.

I haven't been nagged on this tablet nearly as much as I sometimes complain about when setting up new Samsung devices a little bit here and there, but for the most part, V UI offers more while still getting out of the way when need be. And some of the multitasking options. Let's see here. Let's go to YouTube. I can open that in split screen mode, have something else over here. Maybe it's a calculator. I don't know why I'd need to pull up a calculator, but you can do some of these kind of things that from a multitasking perspective that I actually really enjoyed doing on the Z fold that I reviewed like a month ago. And the tablet kind of layout allows you to do that and a big part of that, what Samsung has done with one UI to enable that. As far as updates are concerned, you get four years of OSS updates, five years of security.

That was kind of the top of the heap and I guess officially still is, but the rumor is that next week with Google's pixel announcement that they are going to offer up to seven years of updates. So it'll be interesting to see if Samsung UPS its game. I mean I feel like the hardware and the software inside would be capable of stepping up to that next level, but we'll leave that to Samsung to determine. I was just showing the cameras and I showed you a little bit of the camera roll. I'll be honest, when I use tablets, I rarely ever take pictures, so I didn't really put the cameras through its paces as much as someone who really uses the cameras on their tablet might. And I think rightfully so, when I really kind of blew up some of the pictures that I did take on this device, they look fine, but there was nothing really to write home about.

You get a little bit of that kind of blown out texture when you are in ample light. I mean it might look good when you're zoomed out, but then when you start zooming in, you start to see the image breakdown and in ways that I'm not used to seeing when I look at my pixel images and really scrutinize some of the detail that is found in there. This is more like the wide angle lens on the back and this is the standard. So you can see a little bit of the depth dimension, the difference between what they're able to capture. This is me surrounded by a tree giving a face, but this is the front facing camera to give you a sense of what you're capable of getting out the front facing camera as well. And it's fine. It has a camera, it's serviceable, it's fine that the images definitely do not stand up to the quality that I'm used to seeing on their phones.

Little bit of kind of like hazy quality at times, but I've seen a heck of a lot worse when it comes to cameras on tablets. And so I think for a camera on tablet it's fine. It's just not amazing. I think overall for Android, like I said, Samsung's premium tablets in my opinion, are the ones to beat. I always really enjoy when I get my hands on Samsung's latest kind of premium tablet offering. This was no different. I really enjoyed using this tablet and I'm sad that I had to return it. I just really loved it. It is pricey though, and that is kind of the big thing about Samsung's top of the line hardware and especially with their tablets, this configuration is $1,149, so you're paying a pretty penny to get this premium tablet experience on Android and going to turn some people away, whether it's fair or not.

Some people are going to go, well, why would I spend almost $1,200 on an Android tablet when I can get a better tablet with the iPad Pro or whatever perspective they're coming from? And I dunno, I think that's just a determination you have to make, whether almost $1,200 for a large format Android tablet is worth it to you. It's a fantastic piece of hardware. I actually really like it a lot. I don't know that I would spend $1,200 or 1150 out-of-pocket for this tablet. Maybe if it was right around nine, nine, maybe I'd be more inclined with that, but man passing, I don't know what it is, but passing that thousand dollars mark and going into the four digits makes it harder for me. But it's great hardware. You've got that update promise. Hopefully that expands at some point and Samsung opens that up. But I mean even if it's just five years, I think the hardware and the software capabilities inside this tablet give it a nice bit of life if you're spending 1150, $1,150 for it.

So that is the Samsung Galaxy tab, SS nine plus five G thank you to at t for sending me this review unit and if you have the opportunity, check it out for yourself and see what you think about kind of premium Android tablet experience. That is it for this episode of Tech News Weekly. Love doing this show. I always learn so much getting the opportunity to talk with people each and every week about the different topics that we bring on, and it's just a heck of a lot of fun. A little bit more fun when Mike is here, but he'll be back next week. So I'll look forward to that. If you want to find this show and subscribe, if you haven't subscribed, please do that. Twit tv slash tnw, that's the most important thing. Go there and subscribe. We appreciate when you do that.

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And then you get access to a members only Discord channel, which is a heck of a lot of fun as well. $7 per month twit ITV slash club twit. You're helping us continue to do what we love to do here at twit directly when you do that. So can't thank you enough for all the club members and hopefully you'll become one too. You can find me on all the social media. Just do a search for Jason Howell. Hopefully you find my real one because I'm not always quick enough to the draw to reserve just Jason Howell on his networks as much as I wish I was. But do a search. You'll probably be able to see which ones are mine. Big thanks to John, to John Burke was testing folks out for today's interviews as well behind the scenes. So thanks to Burke and thanks to you for watching and listening each and every week, and we'll see you next time on Tech News Weekly. Bye everybody.

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